Forklift Capacity Calculator

Forklifts pose hazards to workers if they aren't properly maintained, and when operators aren't properly trained in their operation. OSHA forklift certification is no laughing matter, and OSHA takes their regulations very seriously. The regulations exist for good reason-to minimize safety hazards in the workplace without hindering productivity.

One of the requirements for OSHA forklift certification is to have every forklift and every attachment clearly labeled with an accurate and certified capacity rating. Every forklift configuration is different, and it is important that the lift capacity of each configuration is calculated correctly. By knowing the lift capacity, lift truck operators can safely lift and transport products without worrying about causing equipment failure by exceeding capacity.

The OSHA forklift certification regulation is outlined in the regulations and standards documents, section 1910.178(a)(4): "Modifications and additions which affect capacity and safe operation shall not be performed by the customer or user without the manufacturer's prior written approval. Capacity, operation, and maintenance instruction plates, tags, or decals shall be changed accordingly." Recognizing that a manufacturer's written approval may be difficult if not impossible to obtain and in the interest of public safety, OSHA interpretation 07/03/2002 - Powered industrial truck addition/modification approval and marking requirements also allows a "written approval from a qualified Registered Professional Engineer" such as Professional Forklift Engineering Services and the Lift Truck Capacity Calculator website.

These regulations mean that all lift trucks must have a label or plate stating the certified lift capacity rating for the forklift plus attachments. The label, sometimes called a "nameplate," should be easily found on the lift truck with the certified capacity rating stated.

Without knowledge of the lift capacity, not only is there a potential OSHA violation, but there is also the risks that the operator may exceed the maximum load. When this occurs, the lift truck can tip over, the lift mechanism may be damaged, or the load could spill, injuring the operator or nearby workers.

The dangers of incorrect OSHA forklift certification labels are real, which is why OSHA is so stringent on these guidelines. Sadly, there have been very serious injuries and even loss of life caused by lift trucks exceeding their maximum carry capacity. Forklift safety violations consistently fall in the "top ten most frequently cited standards" following an OSHA inspection of a facility (reference:

When reviewing your lift trucks, take note of the OSHA required forklift certification plates and determine whether they need to be reviewed. Factors such as fork wear, configuration or attachment changes, lapses in maintenance, or other issues can affect the lift capacity rating for an individual lift truck.

Before second-guessing your lift capacity information, consider checking with a professional engineering firm that can accurately certify your lift trucks and make sure they are in compliance with OSHA forklift regulations. The experts at Professional Forklift Engineering Services can help you with their Lift Truck Capacity Calculator. This tool will provide a certifiable capacity rating for any lift truck and attachment configuration. Before OSHA approaches, or before a problem occurs, check your forklifts to make sure they are compliant and safe.